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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Some years ago, a case made headlines when a woman was awarded over a million dollars because she spilled a cup of coffee in her lap and sued the restaurant, saying the coffee was too hot. Many people were shocked that someone could actually sue and win for something she had done. But such is the law of the land in which we live.

I remember the word 'responsibility' came up many times in comments about that case, and it came up a few times in President Obama's inagural speech. But what is he really calling on us to do when he asks us to be responsible? I believe he is simply asking us to do what we know needs to be done. The way we tell our children to pick up after themselves and not expect someone else to do if for them. The time has come for each one of us to pick up after ourselves; to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, instead of trying to blame someone else when we spill hot coffee in our laps.

We may choose to ignore the President's call to be responsible, and he won't be able to call us to account, but according to the Bible, there is coming a day when "... we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14: 12). Yes, whether we like it or not, we will one day all answer to an Authority higher than the President of the United States.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

All Things Are Possible

"All things are possible," said the lady on Larry King Live. She echoed my thoughts exactly and, I'm sure, the thoughts of many on this historic Saturday leading up to the inaguration of America's first African American president. I am completely blown away by everything that's happening.

Barack Obama electrified the country and the world during the campaign, and he is doing it again with this inaguration. The whistle stop train ride is something that will definitely grace the pages of the history books. The crowds, the festivities and the speeches are all befitting this momentous occasion, but greater than that is the mood of the people. It is one of excitement, hope and expectancy that a new day is indeed dawning in our nation. A new day that goes beyond hopes of change in our economic situation or our image in the world, but a change in the way we see ourselves and each other.

Already we are seeing the spirit of unity preached by Obama sweep through the nation. We see it in the faces of whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Democrats and Republicans, old and young. We see people coming together as never before to begin the work of rebuilding and reshaping this great nation. As the outgoing president said, "The Obama presidency represents hope for the country." I believe that what we are seeing today would not have been possible without God's intervention. So allow me to make a minor change to the lady's words. "With God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Have you ever said something in a group setting, only to have someone who was not present at the time come and confront you about what you said? More specifically, have you ever said something in a meeting, only to have your boss, who was not present at the meeting, call you up about what you said? This happened to me this past week, and it upset me. It was a simple statement. Something I should not have said, although it would not have got me or anyone else into trouble, but someone saw the need to report it to my boss. And I have no idea who the person was.

Gossiping, spreading rumors, backbiting as the Bible calls it may be common in most workplaces, however the Bible has a lot to say about the way we use our mouth to speak about others. "The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little"(Proverbs 10: 11, 19-20).

Jesus said, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man" (Matthew 15: 18). And from James the apostle: "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (3: 8).
And from the apostle Paul: "Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1 : 30, 32).

The Bible is not the only place we can find admonition about our choice of words. This line from the poet Emily Dickinson conveys the idea so clearly. "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." Just think about that.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


I recently came across a joke about three men who were in a strange city and had no money to pay for their meals. They came up with a creative plan which went like this: The first man entered an upscale restaurant and ordered a very expensive meal. When the meal was over, the waiter handed the check to the man who looked astonished and said, "But I already paid you." The waiter looked puzzled, but not wishing to offend the customer, apologized and took back the check.

The second man came in and the same situation occurred. Not long after, the third man walked in, ordered the most expensive items on the menu and enjoyed his meal. When the waiter brought the check, the man looked angry and said, "What's wrong with you, man? I already paid you." This time the waiter was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. He turned to his customer and said, "Sir, I don't understand what is happening. I served two other men today who said they paid me but I'm almost certain they didn't. What do you think I should do?" The customer looked at the waiter and said, "I'm sorry you've been having trouble sorting out your payments, but will you please give me my change?"

Change. The word is on everybody's lips these days, especially since the stunning victory by Barack Obama, who stirred up the hearts of the people with his mantra of change. But what does change mean? Many of us, myself included, are still putting the finishing touches to our New Year's resolutions in an effort to change our lives for the better. But in most cases, very little change will take place this year or even the next.

In the Bible we see many instances where God made changes in the lives of His people. He told Abraham to leave his hometown, Haran, and go to the land of Canaan. He caused Joseph to be sold into slavery so he could end up in Egypt and become the Prime Minister of that country. God never allowed His people to lead static, boring lives. He changed their names, addresses and ultimately their destinies.

Why, then, are we so resistant to change? Maybe it's our love for the familiar or fear of the unknown. Whatever it is, change can be scary. But in this new year, this new era, let us look to the One "who changeth not" (Malachi 3:6), the unchanging God, to help us make those changes that are necessary and resist those that may cause us trouble. Happy New Year!